Many thanks for a motivating and rewarding 2017

2017 has not been an easy year for charities. However, one stand-out theme for us this year has been the dedication and commitment shown by our clients to truly understand and improve their effectiveness, and to strengthen their governance, in the face of increasing pressure and scrutiny.

It has been very stimulating and enjoyable for us to work with different organisations and ensure they start 2018 better prepared to respond to both present and future challenges. Here are just some examples of the work and the clients that have inspired us this year:

  • We repeated an evaluation of the YoungMinds Parents Helpline (previously undertaken in 2014). Our research confirmed that the service was still achieving positive outcomes at a time when the needs of parents are more complex and mental health services are struggling to cope.
  • Our evaluation of outreach advice services in GP practices for Citizens Advice Camden enabled the charity to demonstrate the impact of its work to funders and clarify the benefits that hosting the service delivered for the GP practices themselves.
  • We are working with several baby loss charities, professional bodies and NHS Trusts to evaluate the National Bereavement Care Pathway. It’s an important and high-profile project. In PMQs in October the Prime Minister herself mentioned the importance of learning the lessons from this pilot prior to a national roll-out.
  • We worked with key staff and trustees at Contact (previously Contact a Family) to develop a new strategy for their helpline to ensure they could meet increasing demand within financial constraints.
  • We have been working with CLIC Sargent again, this time to develop a theory of change and recommend how they might measure the longer-term effects of their work with children and young people with cancer, and their families.
  • We have also worked with several organisations’ trustee boards to strengthen their governance and clarify their futures. We worked with Blackfriars Settlement to prepare a new Business Plan, delivered a repeat away day for the trustees and senior staff at Citizens Advice Barnet, and facilitated an away day for the board of Fairtrade International aimed at finding the right solutions to the challenges of international governance.

Our clients work in different ways and on diverse causes, but they all strive to improve the lives of people who are vulnerable or facing difficulty. At Fiveways we are motivated by providing practical solutions that enable such charities to achieve even more. We also learn so much from brilliant individuals and organisations who make a vital difference to the lives of so many.

We are genuinely grateful to those clients that have chosen to work with us to make this year so rewarding. Here’s to more of the same in 2018.

Merry Christmas and all the very best for the new year.

Justin and Richard